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December 09, 2008

Durbin calls for special election

From my colleague Manu Raju:

Dick Durbin, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has called on the Illinois state legislature to enact a law establishing a special election to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, a process that could leave the seat vacant for months.

"No appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement," he told reporters.

In the wake of Tuesday's corruption charges against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), which included seeking favors in exchange for filling Obama's seat, Durbin said his state's lawmakers should move as "quickly as possible" to take the governor's appointment power away.

Durbin stopped short of calling on Blagojevich to resign, saying doing so would mean that there is a "presumption of guilt" before the governor has had his day in court. But he said that if the allegations are true, "he has clearly abused the public trust."

Durbin, who just was re-elected to a third term, said he did not "enjoy a close relationship" with the governor, whom he called a "difficult man to communicate with." He cited examples of the governor not returning his phone calls, including taking 12 days to return his call about Obama's vacancy.